China has halted a program that would see marginal farmland returned to woodland over concerns that the country’s arable land is diminishing too rapidly, Reuters reported. The deputy head of the Ministry of Land and Resources, Lu Xinshe, said Tuesday that China was already dangerously close to its “red line” of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land necessary to feed its people, with only 1.826 billion mu (121.7 million hectares) available at the end of last year. China had been returning some marginal farmland to its natural state in order to counter rising environmental problems such as sandstorms and drought. But high levels of industrialization in a country with an already low per capital area of farmland have put further strain on China’s limited resources of arable land.
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